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Scholar gains on-the-ground experience

By the end of the year, Spark will have signed on to support their 70th First Foundation scholar. Find out how this long-term partnership is changing lives, and benefitting the telecommunications company at the same time.

Spark Scholar Duaa Belgecem with Rhonda Koroheke and Charlotte Thomas

Just over a decade ago, a successful partnership ignited between Spark and First Foundation. 

The relationship began when a handful of Spark managers became mentors for First Foundation students, says Rhonda Koroheke, Spark’s general manager of human resources and head of diversity and inclusion. 

“And the momentum picked up from there.” 

For more than 13 years, Spark has been a valued scholarship partner for First Foundation while supporting students to achieve their dreams. 

“We saw an opportunity to align our values with an organisation that was passionate about providing a helping hand to talented rangatahi and providing the means to achieve their academic aspirations and be instrumental in setting them up for a successful future.”

Both the First Foundation scholarship recipient and Spark benefit from the partnership. Spark nurtures the student through their first experience of working in a corporate environment, building their technical and business acumen and potentially extending that relationship long after the student has finished their studies, says Rhonda.

Spark would love for First Foundation to strengthen its position by attracting more mentors and scholarship partners to achieve a greater reach around the country.

Check out this video of one Spark First Foundation scholar, Tuputau Belford-Lelaulu, who was awarded his scholarship in 2009. He shares how his experience through the programme has influenced his journey and where he is today.